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Employee information and consultation rights

It's good practice for your employer to let you know what's going on in the business and about any planned future changes. In some cases you may have the right to be informed and consulted about important workplace issues.

What is information and consultation?

Information and consultation means there is ongoing, flexible communication between employer and employees. Your employer should:

  • tell you whats planned (inform)
  • listen and take account ofyour views when deciding what to do (consult)

Your employer should try to be as open as possible - unless the information is commercially sensitive.

How your employer communicates with you will depend on:

  • what they need to tell you
  • the size and structure of the organisation
  • you and your colleagues' usual work practices

For example, information could be passed on in small group meetings with departmental managers or you could be asked for your views through a questionnaire.

Other ways to communicate could include:

  • intranet bulletins
  • email
  • team briefings
  • monthly newsletters
  • video-conferencing

Your employer should think about how they communicate with you. You may not have easy access to a computer so may prefer face-to-face communication or a letter.

If you have a flexible working pattern or areon maternity leave or sick leave, your employer must make sure you are included in the information and consultation process.

Employee representatives and staff committees

In larger organisations, it may be helpful to set up a joint consultative committee (or staff council). This helps to build trust between the employer and staff representatives.

Your employer could also consult with an employee representative, either your:

  • trade union representative
  • information and consultation representative
  • someone specifically appointed for the purpose

Rights to information and consultation

If you work in an organisation with 50 or more employees you have the right to be informed and consulted about important workplace issues. Information and consultation arrangements could be set up in your workplace to cover:

  • the performance of the business
  • expected levels of employment in the future
  • changes in business direction

If you don't already have an information and consultation arrangement with your employer then you have to ask for one. Alternatively, your employer may decide to introduce new arrangements voluntarily.

If you work in a large organisation that has employees in more than one European Economic Area (EEA) country, then you may be able to request that a European Works Council (EWC) is set up.An EWC allows management and employees to discuss issues that affect the business in more than one country.

To request an EWC, you will need to have the support of at least 100 employees in at least two different European countries. The companys central management will thenhaveto establish a special negotiating body (SNB) to negotiate the terms of the EWC agreement.

If you work for a company with fewer than 50 employees you do not have the right to request an information and consultation agreement.However, it may be a good practice for your employer to agree to set one up if you ask for it.

Situations where your employer must consult

In some situations you have the right to be consulted, regardless of any information and consultation arrangements in your workplace.

Proposed redundancies

Your employer should consult with you before making you redundant. If more than 20 redundancies are planned in a 90 day period, they must also consult representatives of the affected staff. Your employer must say when the redundancies will happen and explain why they are happening. They must give you reasonable time off work to look for another job.

If your employer does not properly consult about planned redundancies, you could make a complaint to an Employment Tribunal for compensation known as a protective award.

When a business is transferred (TUPE)

Your employer must consult you or your representatives if there is going to be a transfer of business ownership (known as TUPE). They must say:

  • when the transfer is likely to take place
  • why the transfer is happening
  • if the new owner plans to take actions that will affect employees and what these are

If your employer does not properly consult about planned redundancies due to the transfer,you could make a complaint to an Employment Tribunal for compensation known as a protective award.

When pension changes are proposed

Employers with at least 50 employees should consult when they are proposing to make a significant change to a work-based pension scheme.They must provide all affected staff with:

  • written details of the proposed change, which must be before the start of the consultation
  • relevant background information
  • the timescale in which they intend to introduce the change

Your employer could consult with an employee representative, either your:

  • trade union representative
  • information and consultation representative
  • someone specifically appointed for the purpose

Your employer must allow at least 60 days for consultation. If your employer fails to properly consult about relevant pension changes, you or your employee representative may be able to complain to the Pensions Regulator.

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Source:
DirectGov
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